How do you handle expectations? And is it different for external and internal expectations – in other words, expectations from others versus expectations of yourself? That is the topic of a book I recently discovered through a speech given in my advanced Toastmasters club. The book is called The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin. It is the latest example I have found of an attempt to help people identify their personality for both their benefit and for the benefit of those who interact with them.

The theory is that our personalities cause us to react differently to both external and internal expectations and knowing this will help both us and others navigate life’s often bumpy waters better. Some people handle both external and internal expectations equally well. They respond to external expectations positively and are able to meet their own internal expectations as well. Some people will find challenges in meeting either external or internal expectations. And still, some others seem to be resistant to or have trouble meeting both external and internal expectations.

This week I would like to briefly review each of the four types and ask you to decide which type you are and how that may affect your decision-making and how you interact with others. No one is all one type – there are shades of the others in all of us. But there is usually a predominant type for all. The author includes a Venn diagram (remember that from math?) which illustrates the overlaps between types.

The book is written to help people understand themselves and others and reduce the amount of stress and recriminations we often heap upon ourselves. We all expect better of ourselves and are disappointed when we don’t think we measure up. Perhaps it is because we are using the wrong standard. Stay tuned.